JEREEM "The Dream" Richards ran the fastest men's 200-metre time ever on local soil when he powered to victory under rainy conditions on the final day of this year's National Gas Company/National Association of Athletics Administrations (NGC/NAAA) Open Championships at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Sunday.
Richards, 28, clocked a blistering 19.83 seconds to set a new championship record, personal best and secure IAAF World Championships qualification. This was also his first sub-20 seconds performance for the 2022 season.
His dominant display removed Aaron Armstrong's 19.98s clocking set at the open championships in 2005. Four-time Olympic medallist Ato Boldon however, holds the national 200m record of 19.77s, set in 1997 in Stuttgart, Germany.
The Abilene Wildcats sprinter was first out the blocks and maintained a convincing lead until the end. He made light work of a talented field which saw club mate Kyle Greaux (20.56s) settle for a deserved silver while Kaizen Panthers' Dwight St Hillare (20.68s) snagged bronze. Greaux's time saw him dip below the Commonwealth Games standard of 20.61s while St Hillare's was within the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Senior Championships 20.69s standard. Rising Under-23 sprinter Omari Lewis (21.37s) of Concorde Athletics and Mounting Eagles' Elijah Lewis (21.48s) rounded off the top five men's 200m finishers respectively.
On his showing, Richards said, "To dip under 20 seconds...this is a great feat for me today. I finished healthy, my body is feeling very good and I'm excited for what the season has in store." With three weeks to go ahead of World Championships, Richards believes he's peaking at the right time. "To run a personal best three weeks out, right now, its just to go back to the drawing board, keep this current form and most importantly, stay healthy, keep training and everything will go well in the next few weeks," he added.
On the rainy conditions, Richards continued, "I was not concerned about the weather. I was just ready to run fast." Earlier in the heats, Richards topped semi-final heat one in 21.35s but was third fastest to advance to the final. St Hillare (20.91s) advanced fastest out of the semis with Greaux (20.94s) clocking the second fastest time. Later on, Richards teamed up with Kion Benjamin, Eric Harrison and Akanni Hislop to earn silver in the feature event, men's 4x100m international relay.
The quartet clocked 39.25s, and finished behind Liberia's (38.76s) golden team of Emmanuel Matadi, Wellington Zaza, Akeem Sirleaf and Joseph Fahnbulleh. Barbados (Shane Brathwaite, Kuron Griffith, Matthew Clarke and Jameel Wakes-Miller) placed third in 40.08s while team TTO White (Anthony Diaz, Devin Augustine, Jaden De Souza and Shakeem Mc Kay) was fourth in 41.08s.
In the women's 200m final, in-form Simplex athlete Mauricia Prieto bolted to gold in 23.31s. In the process, she dipped below the NACAC senior standard of 23.47s. Bagging silver was Abilene Wildcats' Reyare Thomas (23.82s) while Cougars' Shaniqua Bascombe (23.88s) snagged bronze. Prieto also captured another gold alongside women's 4x100m compatriots Thomas, Iantha Wright and Leah Bertrand. They clocked 44.69s.
Team TTO White (46.18s) and Masters' Athletics (54.35s) completed the top three in that order. Additionally, national women's long jump record holder Tyra Gittens cruised to victory with her 6.27m leap. Representing Kaizen Panthers, Gittens achieved the golden distance on her fourth of five attempts. Concorde's Janae De Gannes disturbed the sand at 5.69m to earn silver while her club mate Nathaniela King's 5.02m leap was good enough for bronze. And in the women's heptathlon, Concorde's Gianna Paul won gold by finishing on 4310 points after seven events. Club mate Tenique Vincent (4062pts) and Oasis' Kernes Shelbourne (3959pts) were second and third respectively.
Men 100m masters - 1. Rondell Paul (Masters) 11.54s; 2. Jeremy Blackman (MAP) 12.17s; 3. Ian Andrews (MAP) 12.17s400m hurdles - 1. Kadesh Roberts (Memphis) 54.07s; 2. Anson Moses (Tobago Falcons) 56.32s; 3. Tauren George (Defence Force) 57.16s800m - 1. Nicholas Landeau (+one A Week) 1:51.01; 2. Reginald Mouton (Phoenix) 1:53.70; 3. Genesis Joseph (Health Olympians) 1:53.835000m - 1. Nicholas Romany (TT Road Runners) 15:41.02; 2. Tafari Waldron (Cougars) 15:48.69; 3. Guswill George (TT Road Runners) 17:14.334x400m relay - 1. Barbados 3:04.27; 2. TTO White 3:21.78High jump - 1. Aaron Antoine (Neon Wolves) 2.05m; 2. Kristian La Touche (Memphis) 1.85mDiscus - 1. Christopher Crawford (Tobago Falcons) 55.01m; 2. Umar Sandy (Toco Tafac) 46.69m; 3. Jaden James (Fatima College) 46.30m Triple Jump - 1. Daniel Igbokwe (Siparia Athletics) 15.56m; 2. Kristopher La Touche (Memphis) 15.05m; 3. Lorenzo Luces (Toco Tafac) 14.96m
Women 100m masters - 1. Ayanna Hutchinson-Britton 13.39s; 2. Romona Modeste 13.51s; 3. Krista Francis Raymah 15.75s800m - 1. Camille Lewis (Phoenix) 2:14.18; 2. April Francis (Abilene) 2:30.23; 3. Shakiah Phillip (Memphis) 2:36.13Javelin - 1. Kymoi Noray (Zenith) 43.58m; 2. Kenika Cassar (Toco Tafac) 43.07m; 3. Teheali Frederick (Zenith) 40.53m Shot Put - 1. Ianna Roach (Memphis) 13.61m; 2. Shakera Kirk (Unattached) 12.20m; 3. Jusonya Fifi (MAP) 10.86ma